Overview of posterior spinal fusion recovery
Patients recovering from spinal fusion surgery can often expect a few months of limited physical activity as the body heals. This is especially true for patients who undergo traditional open back fusion as opposed to minimally invasive spine surgery because the muscles require extended time to heal and rebuild after being cut and detached from the body during the procedure.
Before you have spinal fusion surgery, you should meet with your surgeon to discuss postoperative guidelines and what to expect following the procedure. For instance, for some spinal fusion recoveries, patients are not able to drive for a week or more after the procedure. Make sure you consult your surgeon about daily activities and work so you can schedule your postoperative time accordingly.
Restrictions following spinal fusion for degenerative disc disease
The spinal fusion recovery process requires a great deal of patience and discipline on the part of the patient, whether the procedure was performed as a minimally invasive procedure, like transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), or as a highly invasive open back surgery. For those who undergo TLIF at Laser Spine Institute, you can expect to be fairly limited early in the recovery process, with a gradual increase in physical activity, as tolerated and approved by physicians and/or physical therapists.
The basic guidelines for returning to work after a minimally invasive TLIF are typically returning to light office work after two to four weeks. For any jobs that require physical labor, it is advised to wait between six to 12 weeks, depending on lifting requirements. If you are lifting more than 25 pounds, return to work instructions may be extended to six months.
However, only your physician or physical therapist can accurately determine if you are able to return to work. Each patient is different, therefore your ability to return to work may vary based on your specific progress and X-ray follow-up with one of Laser Spine Institute’s board-certified surgeons.+ After undergoing our minimally invasive stabilization surgery, 70 percent of our patients have reported returning to work within three months after surgery.^
Monitoring symptoms during the spinal fusion recovery process
Throughout the first three months following TLIF, lifting should be limited, based on the instructions of the physician and physical therapist. While a certain amount of pain and tightness around the surgical area is expected, any major change in symptoms should be reported to a physician as soon as possible. For more information about TLIF for degenerative disc disease, contact Laser Spine Institute today.
In the event that you have recently been diagnosed with this degenerative condition and are considering undergoing a surgical procedure, such as the minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute, we can help address any questions you have about our muscle-sparing procedures and determine if you are a potential candidate for our TLIF surgery through a free MRI review.*